Your utility bill is a combination of charges for your water and sewer service. Your water bill is $8 to $10 less than it normally would be per month, because the town sells water to Niagara Bottling Co., which helps to lower our citizens’ cost and helps the town to build its water reserve fund.
The sewer portion of your utility bill is steep because the town is paying off the debt incurred from building its state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant. The Washington State Dept. of Ecology effectively forced the town to build the plant (“You build it or we will—and then bill you”), which the town accomplished with the aid of grants and low-interest loans. The town is now paying back the loans while actively seeking relief from that debt during each legislative session.
Another note of interest: The water and sewer funds are “enterprise funds,” which means they have to be self-supporting. The state doesn’t allow enterprise funds to borrow or give money to other enterprise funds. Hence, the rates for each of those utilities directly reflect the expenses associated with each utility, including maintenance and upkeep, and, in the case of the wastewater treatment plant, loan repayment.